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Jon Tickle speaks at the UTC

Jon Tickle came to the UTC on 31 January to give a talk on his career. Jon is one of several guests we’ve had come to speak to our students.

Jon Tickle came to the UTC on 31 January to give a talk on his career. Jon is one of several guests we’ve had come to speak to our students.

Before beginning his talk, Jon set a couple of students a challenge – to document his talk on Post-It notes.  Jon had two reasons to set this challenge, firstly because he believes that those who can write and communicate well will see their ideas come into fruition. Secondly research has shown that without recording information while you receive it, there is only a 50% chance of remembering what you are told.

Jon started the main element of his talk with the highs and lows of education from GCSEs to degree.

His first job was at British Gas in 1996 working in data collection. Jon saw what parts of the system weren’t and vocalised his thoughts. This led to two quick promotions as Jon's ideas helped the company become more efficient.

Following the Y2K scare, Jon moved into a business analyst role. At this time he also qualified as a PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments) practitioner. This type of project
management qualification is something Jon recommended to students to have on their CV.

It was at this point of his career that Jon realised that data is power. With access to data he could shape the business and how it operates. Data also helps any company make better decisions about their business processes. Jon became a Data Manager Strategist in 2003 and his team built systems to produce data for analysis. They were then able to tell senior management what business processes were and were not working.

Even during his time on Big Brother and filming Brainiac, Jon managed to find the time to set up a new customer database for British Gas!

Today Jon is an Information Architect at British Gas and designs computer systems which programmers then create.

To finish his talk, Jon had some lessons for students to take away:

  • Being flexible will open up different jobs and career paths. Jon lived in several different cities in first part of his career
  • Always engage with other parts of a business and network to make your name known. There's nothing more important than your networks as never know when they will come in handy
  • In his experience, Jon has found that being unreasonable creates change in a business
  • Always include hard facts and numbers in your CV. Employers want to know this
  • Don't be afraid to take advantage of opportunities given to you
  • You'll never work 37 hours a week. Be prepared to do something extra to differentiate yourself from your peers. If you don't learn, you don't innovate and then have nothing to say to your next employer at an interview
  • Do a job you love
  • Choose a decent boss. You'll spend a lot of time with them

Jon was impressed with how well students Danielle and Anwar did on the Post-It note challenge, particularly the collaboration between them and that they recorded lots of key points.

  • Active Learning
  • Microsoft
  • Cisco
  • University of Reading
  • Network Rail
  • Peter Brett